An ominous warning that the Linnets would be blasted out of the FA Cup by Halesowen on Saturday proved deadly accurate.
the forecast was given on Friday by Burton Albion manager Neil Warnock.
He told the Lynn manager Keith Rudd: "Halesowen beat us 5-0 last year in a cup tie and I fear they will overrun you."
The fact that Lynn and Burton were even matched NPL rivals last season meant that the Linnets faced a daunting fixture.
Rudd said afterwards: "I thought Warnock was joking, having a go at us, but I soon realised what he meant."
Halesowen, top of the West Midlands League with 32 goals in an unbeaten run of nine games, were a side brimming with confidence and on their ground which has more slopes than Yeovil’s had all the advantages.
For the first few minutes it was fairly even, the calm before the storm as the home side weighed up Lynn. Then came the fireworks as Halesowen swept into the lead.
Perhaps the Linnets were guilty of bad marking for the first goal and perhaps they were naive in getting caught on the break for the second.
But Halesowen were so devastating with their finishing that peter Shilton would have been beaten.
Robert Shivlock’s 14th minute strike was a superb effort, low and angled from 20 yards past John McPherson’s left hand.
In the 20th minute Lynn had pushed forward for a corner and were caught when Halesowen got possession and steamed forward. Stuart Edwards, a most direct centre forward, as put into yards of space and his volley thumped against the bar, Paul Joinson was first to the rebound to tap home.
The Halesowen tactics were simple - sweeping passes up field missing out the midfield area and giving their nippy forwards something to chase. With the home midfield players always quick to support, Lynn were reduced to desperate defence.
It still wasn’t all one way and when a Martin Coupe - Jim Kabia move turned the Halesowen defence, the final shot from Chris Watts was tipped away by the keeper.
In the 34th minute a long kick from keeper Phil Caldicott should have been easily dealt with as three defender converged on the ball. But with no-one decisive, a gap was left for the pursuing Paul Joinson who suddenly found himself free with only McPherson to beat for an easy third goal.
For the Linnets to maintain any realistic hopes they needed a goal back quickly, but it was McPherson who was bombarded from further attacks.
The second half was only seven minutes old when Edmonds struck a shot which swerved viscously then hit a divot and left McPherson completely bemused.
Four goals down and the Linnets were now on the rack. Marty Wiles went close to conceding an own goal with a header which bounced off the bar, but in the 64th minute Mark Hazelwood darted through to get the fifth. And in the 68th minute the rout was complete when Edmunds hammered in another 20-yarder over McPherson.
Halesowen then took off their shooting boots for the final 20 minutes and the threat of a double-figure score receded. Lynn, in fact, showed some glimpses of form and Watts missed a clear chance from five yards. Garwood with a shot which whistled past the post and Coupe with a header just over the bar were also close in the final minutes.
But this late flurry hardly worried Halesowen, and their supporters, used to success, were in full voice. Last season Halesowen banked some Ł20,000 as they went all the way to Wembley in the FA Vase and more recently won a complete set of floodlights in a Midlands five-a-side competition.
|Halesowen: Caldicott, Penn, Prosser, Lacey, Randle,Shivlock, Hazelwood (sub Woodhouse70 mins), Moss, Edmonds, P Joinson, L Joinson.
Lynn: McPherson, McJannet, Mercer, Johnston, Wiles, Watts, Foster, Allen (sub Easthall 72 mins), Coupe, Garwood, Kabia,
Referee: R Burton (Hinckley). Attendance: 1,000